greendougherty Blog – Life in he U.S. Marines
Another one of my blogs on Word Press which deals with the four years, three months and 17 days of my life that I spent on active duty with the U.S. Marines. I was not able to get my legal staff to get a few medical exemptions for my draft and had to serve active duty and I chose the U.S. Marine Corps as the military arm that I wanted to serve my obligation.
It was during the summer of 1961 that the question came about as what to do with one’s service obligation. Time was short because a draft notice would be coming in the mail at that time in history. So, one had to make a decision if you were not college bound at the moment.
At the time, I was hanging around the corner of 87th Street and York Avenue, just outside Kronk’s Luncheonette. The conversation had come up a few times and a few of us were making a decision as to what branch of service that we would do our service obligation.
Both myself and Henry Boerner had decided to make a decision to join the U.S. Marines, Jack O’Brien said that he was going into the U.S. Army and Eddie Barber was in the conversation too but I don’t recall him leaving the same day we decided to go down to Whitehall Street for the induction into the service.
The days came close to where we had to leave for our trip to South Carolina and do boot camp. The night before i was in a bar on Lexington Avenue celebrating my last night of freedom and almost everyone in the bar was an ex-Marine and all were telling me not to go. naturally, I didn’t listen to any of them and left the next morning for South Carolina in a plane from Trenton airport in New Jersey.
I know we arrived at Parris Island Boot Camp in a bus and remember the bus hissing to a stop. The driver opened the door and a Marine on the front gate walked up the steps of the bus to introduce us all to boot camp. It was during this conversation that I probably heard more curse words in a short period of time than I have heard in my life time.
Before we knew what happened, the bus door closed and we were en route to our reception by our receiving drill instructors. Well, a few minutes later the bus came to its final stop at the receiving barracks and I heard the barking from our receiving drill instructors. I guess I was looking forward to an exciting evening and it would make a great video on You Tube if I had a camera to capture the moment.
We were all told to go to a bunk and stand in front of it at attention. The drill instructors told us to empty out every thing from our pockets and place all of it on the bunk.The drill instructor emphasized that we were to take every thing out of our pockets we would not see any of this stuff until we finished boot camp.
One by one, the drill instructor passed by each recruit and made comments about our stuff that we had left on the bunk. When he came to my stuff, he picked up my wallet and looked at my pictures and found one of a girl I was going out with at the time of my enlistment. the picture was of this girl and a dog she had at the time of the picture. It was a Kodak moment that was given to me by my girl friend at the time.
The drill instructor looked at me and said “Are you screwing her”? to which I answered “No”! Then the drill instructor said “What about the dog”? and the rest of the recruits gave out a chuckle which was silenced by the other drill instructors. Before we knew it, the day had quickly come to an end we were asleep in out temporary bunks.
The next say was spent doing an all day physical. I believe that there were about 60 recruits to a barracks and there were four barracks full of new recruits going through a physical. It was going to be a fun days because we were all told to disrobe and get ready to have a full intensive physical compliments of the U.S. Marine Corps. We were told that in order to build discipline properly, that one had to be broken down completely.
We were all standing around naked and told by the drill instructors to get close to the guy in front of us until he smiled. Believe me, it was working just as they said that it would. When we were standing in line, we were painted with the brush that you used back in the day to paint the side of your shoes with this stain which was used to to paint a number on your chest. My number was 26.
I was always fascinated with that number because I always wondered that my last name begins with a D yet I was painted with a 26 which was strange to me because I didn’t think that there would be a lot of people in front of me since my last name started with a D. Small things tend to amuse me.
Now you have to figure out that a little mayhem was going on during this process because how can you maintain order with literally 240 recruits in and around this large room with some getting blood drawn, others getting checked by a doctor for hernias, and some bent over and getting probed. It was a long day.
I looked at my number on my chest and noticed that my arm had a little blood running out of the tube that was full at the moment and the excess blood was over filling the tube. A corpsman noticed and pulled out the needle and gave me a gauze pad to hold over the needle hole in my arm.
Seabag that I used for the next four years, three months and 17 days. You can barely see the various ships that I was assigned to over the years and the countries that I got to visit.
It was not too long before we were off to another part of the building where we were issued out green uniforms for boot camp along with the assorted toiletries and other necessary goodies that one needs to survive boot camp for the next 12 weeks.
Talk about stepping into shit, that was me, and because of something that was happening in the world at the moment, we were the last training program in boot camp to be trained under the 12 week program. All the new groups that were starting after our group would be going through a nine week training training program and we would watch a whole group of Marines finish their training before we finished.
For those that like to look, my Tour of Duty in the U.S. Marines
- Life in the U.S. Marines
- greendougherty – Dougherty Garden
- greendougherty – Oldies (Doo Wop) Music
- greendougherty – Yorkville (Pending)
- grteendougherty – Life in the U.S. marines